Short summary - A Voyage to the moon: with some account of the Solar World - Histoire comique des états et empires de la lune and Histoire comique des états et empires du soleil - Hercule Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - A Voyage to the moon: with some account of the Solar World - Histoire comique des états et empires de la lune and Histoire comique des états et empires du soleil
Hercule Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac

At nine in the evening, the author and four of his friends were returning from a house in the vicinity of Paris. The full moon was shining in the sky, drawing the gaze of revelers and arousing the wit, already honed against the stones of the pavement. One suggested that this is a heavenly dormer window, from where the radiance of the blessed shines through. Another insisted that Bacchus kept a tavern in heaven and hung the moon as his signboard. The third exclaimed that it was the ironing board on which Diana was smoothing Apollo's collars. The fourth said that it was just the sun in a dressing gown, without a garment of rays. But the author expressed the most original version: undoubtedly, the moon is the same world as the earth, which, in turn, is the moon for it. The companions greeted these words with loud laughter, although the author relied on the authority of Pythagoras, Epicurus, Democritus, Copernicus and Kepler. But providence or fate helped the author to establish himself on his way: when he returned home, he found on his desk a book that he did not put there and where it was said about the inhabitants of the moon. So, by a clear inspiration from above, the author was ordered to explain to people that the moon is an inhabited world.

To ascend to heaven, the author tied himself with vials filled with dew. The sun's rays attracted them to themselves, and soon the inventor was above the highest clouds. Then he began to break the flasks one after another and smoothly sank to the ground, where he saw completely naked people, who fled in fear when he appeared. Then a detachment of soldiers appeared, from whom the author learned that he was in New France. The viceroy greeted him very kindly: he was a man capable of lofty thoughts and completely shared Gassendi's views on the falsity of Ptolemy's system. Philosophical conversations gave the author great pleasure, but he did not give up the thought of going to the moon and built a special machine with six rows of rockets filled with fuel. The attempt to fly off the cliff ended sadly: the author was so badly hurt during the fall that he had to rub himself from head to toe with a brain made of bovine bones. However, the moon at the expense has a habit of sucking the brain from the bones of animals, so she pulled the author to her. Having flown three quarters of the way, he began to descend with his feet up, and then collapsed on the branches of the tree of life and found himself in the biblical paradise. Seeing the beauties of this sacred place, he felt the same pleasant and painful feeling that an embryo experiences the minute the soul flows into it. The traveler immediately became fourteen years younger: old hair fell out, replaced by new, thick and soft, blood caught fire in his veins, natural warmth harmoniously penetrated his entire being.

Walking in a wonderful garden, the author met an unusually handsome young man. It was the prophet Elijah, who ascended to paradise on an iron chariot, with the help of a constantly tossed up magnet. Having tasted of the fruits of the tree of life, the holy elder found eternal youth. From him the author learned about the former inhabitants of paradise. Exiled by God, Adam and Eve, having flown to earth, settled in the area between Mesopotamia and Arabia - the pagans, who knew the first man under the name of Prometheus, laid down a fable about him, as if he stole fire from heaven. Several centuries later, the Lord inspired Enoch with the idea of leaving the vile tribe of people. This holy man, having filled two large vessels with smoke from the sacrificial fire, sealed them hermetically and tied them under his armpits, as a result of which the steam lifted him to the moon. When there was a flood on earth, the waters rose to such a terrible height that the ark floated across the sky at the same level as the moon. One of Noah's daughters, having lowered a boat into the sea, also ended up in the Garden of Eden - the most daring of animals followed her. Soon the girl met Enoch: they began to live together and gave birth to a large offspring, but then the godless disposition of the children and the pride of his wife forced the righteous man to go into the forest to devote himself entirely to prayers. Taking a break from work, he combs a linen tow - that is why in the fall a white spider web is floating in the air, which the peasants call "the threads of the Mother of God."

When it came to the ascension to the moon of the Evangelist John, the devil instilled in the author an inappropriate joke. The Prophet Elijah, beside himself with indignation, called him an atheist and drove him away. The author, tormented by hunger, took a bite of an apple from the tree of knowledge, and then a thick darkness enveloped his soul - he did not lose his mind just because the life-giving juice of the pulp somewhat weakened the harmful effect of the skin. The author woke up in a completely unfamiliar area. Soon he was surrounded by many large and strong animals - in face and constitution they resembled a man, but they moved on four legs. Subsequently, it turned out that these giants mistook the author for the female of the queen's small animal. First, it was given to a magician for safekeeping - he taught him to roll and make grimaces for the amusement of the crowd.
No one wanted to recognize a being that moves on two legs as rational, but one day there was a man among the spectators who had been on earth. He lived for a long time in Greece, where he was called the Demon of Socrates. In Rome, he joined the party of the younger Cato and Brutus, and after the death of these great men he became a hermit. The inhabitants of the moon on earth were called oracles, nymphs, geniuses, fairies, penates, vampires, brownies, ghosts and ghosts. Today the earthly people have become so coarse and stupid that the lunar sages have lost the desire to teach them. However, real philosophers sometimes still meet - for example, the Demon of Socrates gladly visited the Frenchman Gassendi. But the moon has much more advantages: here they love the truth and put reason above all else, and only sophists and orators are considered insane. The Demon born in the sun took on a visible form, having moved into a body that had already grown old, so now he is blowing life into a recently deceased young man.

The Demon's visits brightened up the bitter lot of the author, who was forced to serve the magician, and then the rejuvenated Demon took him with the intention of presenting him to the court. At the hotel, the author became better acquainted with some of the customs of the inhabitants of the moon. He was put to sleep on a bed of flower petals, fed with delicious smells and stripped naked before eating so that his body could better absorb the fumes. The demon paid off the owner for the stay with poems that were evaluated in the Mint, and explained that in this country only fools die of hunger, and smart people never live in poverty.
In the palace, the author was eagerly awaited, because they wanted to happen to the little animal of the queen. This mystery was resolved when, among the crowd of monkeys dressed in pantaloons, the author saw a European. He was from Castile and managed to fly to the moon with the help of birds. At home, the Spaniard almost ended up in the prison of the Inquisition, for he argued in the face of pedants that there is a void and that no substance in the world weighs more than another substance. The author liked the reasoning of his comrade in misfortune, but he had to conduct philosophical conversations only at night, since during the day there was no escape from the curious. Having learned to understand the sounds they made, the author began to express himself with a sin in half in a foreign language, which led to great unrest in the city, which was divided into two parties: some found the author's glimpses of reason, others attributed all his meaningful actions to instinct. In the end, this religious dispute was brought before a court. During the third session, a man fell at the feet of the king and lay on his back for a long time - this is the position the inhabitants of the moon take when they want to speak in public. The stranger made a beautiful defense speech, and the author was recognized as a human, but sentenced to public repentance: he had to renounce the heretical statement that his moon is the real world, while the world here is nothing more than the moon.
In the clever lawyer, the author recognized his sweet Demon. He congratulated him on his release and took him to a house that belonged to a venerable old man. The demon settled here in order to influence the master's son, who could become the second Socrates, if he knew how to use his knowledge and did not pretend to be an atheist out of empty vanity. The author was surprised to see the gray-haired professors invited to dinner obsequiously bow to this young man. The demon explained that the reason for this is age: on the moon, old people show all respect for the young, and parents must obey children. The author once again marveled at the rationality of local customs: on earth, panic fear and insane fear of acting are taken for common sense, while on the moon, decrepitude that has survived from the mind is appreciated at its true worth.

The master's son fully shared the Demon's views. When his father decided to argue with him, he kicked the old man and ordered him to bring his stuffed animal, which he began to whip. Not satisfied with this, he ordered the unfortunate man to walk on two legs all day to heighten the shame. The author was extremely amused by this kind of pedagogy. Fearing to burst out laughing, he started a philosophical conversation with the young man about the eternity of the universe and the creation of the world. As the Demon had warned, the young man turned out to be a vile atheist. Trying to seduce the author, he boldly denied the immortality of the soul and even the very existence of God. Suddenly, the author saw something terrible in the face of this handsome young man: his eyes were small and set very deep, his complexion was swarthy, his mouth was huge, his chin was hairy, and his nails were black - only the Antichrist could have looked like that. In the midst of the dispute, an Ethiopian of gigantic stature appeared and, grabbing the blasphemer across the body, climbed with him into the chimney. The author still managed to become attached to the unfortunate man, and therefore grabbed his legs to pull the giant out of the clutches. But the Ethiopian was so strong that he climbed behind the clouds with a double weight, and now the author was holding tightly to his comrade, not out of philanthropy, but out of fear of falling. The flight continued indefinitely, then the outlines of the earth appeared, and at the sight of Italy it became clear that the devil was carrying the master's son straight to hell. The author cried out in horror, "Jesus, Mary!" and at the same instant found himself on the slope of a heather-covered hill. Kind peasants helped him to get to the village, where he was almost torn to pieces by dogs smelling the moonlit smell - as you know, these animals are accustomed to barking at the moon for the pain it causes them from afar. The author had to sit for three or four hours naked in the sun until the stench disappeared - after that the dogs left him alone, and he went to the port to board a ship sailing to France. On the way, the author thought a lot about the inhabitants of the moon: probably the Lord deliberately removed these unbelievers by nature to a place where they have no opportunity to corrupt others - as a punishment for complacency and pride, they were left to themselves. Out of mercy, no one was sent to them to preach the Gospel, because they would certainly have used the Holy Scriptures for evil, thereby aggravating the punishment that inevitably awaits them in the next world.